How to Get the Most of Your Rental Car
Airports can be brutal. By the time you are about to leave one, you are likely sleep-deprived, irritable, and ready to smack anyone who mentions the word delay to you. It is no wonder that so many people then rush through their car rental, looking to escape as fast as they can. Unfortunately for them, they might not be getting the best deal or car for their services. There are a few things you can do as a traveler to improve your rental car experience.
Thanks to the Internet, you can do most of the work of renting a car from your computer or even phone app. Most of the big car rental companies, such as Enterprise, Hertz, Alamo, Budget, and Avis now offer online booking. You can compare prices and even see the vehicles they have available. This makes things much easier than waiting till after you get off your flight to try and get a rental car. Instead, everything is set and ready to go. All you have to do is show up.
Picking Your Car
This one should be a no-brainer. Whether you are on a business trip or a family vacation, picking the right car is essential to making sure your plans go smoothly. For example, if you are traveling for business, showing up in a minivan is going to pretty odd compared to if you should up in a classy sedan. If you flip that around, you don’t want your family crammed into a car that says it holds four but really should only hold 3, when there was a big glorious Toyota Sienna waiting for you at the lot. Should be fairly obvious, but you never know.
Another important aspect of picking your car, and one that often goes unnoticed, is the gas mileage of the vehicle you choose. As great as that 6-speed roadster the rental company is willing to upgrade you to sounds, it gets less than 20 mpg, and you’re on a budget. I am not saying don’t go for the sweet car if you can afford it, I am just saying keep in mind you are responsible for the gas. Many companies now offer hybrid vehicles as well which are a great way to get around without burning a hole in your pocket.
Remember that whole “people-are-tired-at-the-airport-and-just-want-a-car-so-they-can-get-to-their-hotel-as-fast-as-possible-so-they-can-go-to-sleep” thing? Yeah, a lot of these car rental companies, they are kind of counting on that. They hope you upgrade, they hope you skip over the fine details, because that way they make an extra buck or two. Things like extra driver fees, gas fees, drop-off charges, airport surcharges and more are all part of the true cost of renting a car. Sometimes these costs are included in the original quote, sometimes they are not. The point is to be aware that the quote you saw originally might not end up the final cost of your rental.
Renting a car is often the last step on the long first leg of a journey, but if you plan accordingly the whole process can be made a lot smoother. Keep in mind those hidden costs and you should be on your way to your final destination without a problem.